Amy Cheng Vollmer

Isaac H. Clothier, Jr. Professor of Biology

Swarthmore College

Teaching enjoyably: liberating yourself from unnecessary constraints

Teaching can be a rewarding experience. Too often we are burdened with limitations or requirements that can diminish our passion.  Students can sense the energy or lack thereof when a professor enters the classroom. This affects the attitude that they have toward learning.  During this lecture, we will try to reconnect with the vitality that attracted us to our disciplines and to shed the layers of paralyzing constraints.  Ultimately, our desire to inspire students who are life long learners should be what motivates us and guides our decisions and actions.

Vollmer 2017 headshot

Workshop: How to turn our teaching headaches into learning opportunities for our students

Many of us have the same list of complaints about teaching:  too much material, too little time, balancing current and historic content, students who arrive unprepared and who remain unengaged, grading and other forms of feedback, and more.  Just thinking about this list makes us tired! Attending this interactive workshop will motivate you to think about your interactions and assignments in a new way: not making more work for yourself, but enabling a more active and engaged experience for your students.

Bio: Amy Cheng Vollmer

Dr. Amy Cheng Vollmer completed her B.A. in biochemistry from Rice University and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. After her post-doctoral research in immunology at Stanford Medical School, she spent four year as a faculty member at Mills College in Oakland, CA. She then joined the Biology Department faculty at Swarthmore College, where she served as chair for five years. At Swarthmore she teaches lecture and laboratory courses in microbiology, biotechnology and metabolism, and team-teaches in the introductory biology course.  She has also offered courses in bioethics and adult learning courses about bacteria and viruses. Her research focuses on bacterial stress response and collaborates on projects about the gut microbiome in small animals.  In her laboratory, she has supervised over 70 undergraduate students, many of whom have presented their work at national meetings.